Critics' Choice

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THEATRE

WAITING FOR GODOT. Samuel Beckett takes a backseat to inspired if intrusive clowning by Robin Williams and Steve Martin in a sold-out run at Manhattan's Lincoln Center.

EASTERN STANDARD. Insider trading, bag ladies, AIDS and the excesses of nouvelle cuisine -- everything '80s gets skewered, then sentimentalized, in a deft off-Broadway satire.

ITALIAN AMERICAN RECONCILIATION. In John Patrick Shanley's Little Italy, all the women are worldly-wise, and all the men are moonstruck. John Turturro leads the cast of this chocolate-heart comedy at the Manhattan Theater Club.

BOOKS

THE HIGH ROAD by Edna O'Brien (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; $18.95). The Irish author made her reputation writing about headstrong girls dashing toward the flame of maturity; her tenth novel portrays women who have come out on the other side, badly burned.

THE MARCOS DYNASTY by Sterling Seagrave (Harper & Row; $22.50). This merciless account of the Filipino dictator's rise and fall poses many intriguing questions, answering some. Why did Ferdinand purloin billions of dollars? What did Imelda want with all those shoes?

THE KING OF THE FIELDS by Isaac Bashevis Singer (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; $18.95). In his first novel in five years, the Nobel laureate, 84, portrays a remote tribe in a faraway past enduring the shocks of progress and civilization.

LOS LOBOS: LA PISTOLA Y EL CORAZON (Warner Bros.). Nine Mexican songs, contemporized but not homogenized by an ace rock band. Roots music for everyone to share.

LISZT: CONCERTOS NOS. 1 AND 2; TOTENTANZ (DG). Pianistic fireworks from Poland's Krystian Zimerman, abetted by Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony. Tops: the underrated Totentanz (Dance of Death), a performance sure to rattle a few skeletons.

BEETHOVEN: EARLY YEARS THROUGH THE EROICA (Smithsonian Collection of Recordings). Just what the world needs: more Beethoven. But wait. This collection is played with vim and vigor on original instruments: Beethoven like he oughtta be.

ETTA JAMES: SEVEN YEAR ITCH (Island). Attention: danger of electric shock. High-voltage R. and B. from a woman who has so much funk, soul, sex and humor that, on a tune like Jump into My Fire, you can hear the flames crackle.

MOVIES

THE ACCUSED. Can a slut be raped? That is the question in this engrossing drama about a victimized vamp (Jodie Foster) and an avenging angel of a prosecutor (Kelly McGillis) who pursues her case.

EVERYBODY'S ALL-AMERICAN. A college star (Dennis Quaid) peaks early; his prom- queen wife (Jessica Lange) piques often; a star-struck bookworm (Timothy Hutton) peeks into their problems. Taylor Hackford's entertaining soap opera polishes the cliches until they shine like movie truths.

A CRY IN THE DARK. A mother's nightmare -- the loss of her baby -- is compounded when she is wrongly convicted of murdering the infant. Meryl Streep is awesomely austere as the second victim in this tough-minded drama, based on a 1980 case in Australia.

TELEVISION

THE EAGLE (PBS, Nov. 25, 9 p.m. on most stations). Rudolph Valentino, the silent screen's Tony Danza, plays a dashing Cossack lieutenant in the 1925 classic, newly restored and rescored, on Great Performances.

A DANGEROUS LIFE (HBO, Nov. 27, 28, 29, 8 p.m. EST). A dictator is deposed, a former housewife sweeps into power, and the Philippine revolution is replayed, docudrama style, through the eyes of an American reporter (Gary Busey).

DISASTER AT SILO 7 (ABC, Nov. 27, 9 p.m. EST). A mishap at a U.S missile base threatens the Texas countryside with nuclear nightmare; Michael O'Keefe and Dennis Weaver race to save the day.

ART

THE PASTORAL LANDSCAPE, National Gallery of Art and the Phillips Collection, Washington. In this joint venture, the National offers "The Legacy of Venice," two centuries of painting from Giorgione (a progenitor of the pastoral genre) to Watteau, while the Phillips, in "The Modern Vision," carries the theme from Constable down to Matisse. Through Jan. 22.

DREAMINGS: THE ART OF ABORIGINAL AUSTRALIA, Asia Society, New York City. Exponents of the oldest visual tradition on earth evoke their spirit ancestors in paintings and carvings of striking beauty. Through Dec. 31.

MONET IN LONDON, High Museum, Atlanta. To mark the museum's fifth anniversary, a show of 23 atmospheric views of Waterloo and Charing Cross bridges and the Houses of Parliament, done by the impressionist between 1899 and 1904. Through Jan. 8.

CREDIT: ILLUSTRATIONS FOR TIME BY BRIAN CRONIN.